[Prototype] Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena

edited in Projects
Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena
A stompy mech sim arena shooter by Gazza_N

November 2018
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The reasonably-polished vertical slicamabob has a release date. The somethingth of November 2018, but no later than the end of the month. Wheeeeeeeeeee.



Hoctober Hedit H2015

New menu system prototype! Yay! Get it at this heah leenk (PC - 22MB ZIP)

Edited September 2015
It's been a while, but the game has advanced in leaps and bounds. I'm pleased to offer all y'all yet another playable version for feedback and subsequent improvement! Wheeee!

Some video-style snippets of gameplay with still-not-my-bloody-music




I've decided not to bother with web-player versions from here on out. They're convenient for distribution, but don't suit the input system very well.

You can get the Standalone Build right here as a 22MB ZIP.

NOTE: You can hit F1 during a match to bring up a really crappy overlay that shows all the controls. A proper tutorial is pending, promise.

Please give it a whirl and let me know what you think. I value ALL feedback from my players - it's why the game's come as far as it has. :)

For those who care, a short list of all the major changes since March:

- Totally revamped the art style for the game. Now cel-shaded. It looks way better.
- All the particles.
- Added new mech art and animations courtesy of volunteer artist @Pierre. He's done damned good work, and even more shiny new weapon and mech models are inbound to make the game look even more delicious.
- More particles.
- Major rework of AI, especially pathfinding, using numerous techniques to make enemy mechs feel smarter, steer better, and do less derptastic things in combat.
- Yes, particles.
- Tweaks to the HUD to clarify and polish ALL the things. The most important addition is that the deadzone for mouse turret rotation is now explicitly shown AND customizable on the Pause screen during a match, so you can set it to be as sensitive or loose as you want.
- Part. Icles.
- The mech has a computer that speaks to you, voiced by yours truly. I can't wait for people to recoil in horror when I speak to them after this.
- I. AM. SPARTICLES.
- Tweaks to balance. Tweaks to handling. Tweaks everythewhere. I'm constantly tweaking and refining the game, to the point that I can't remember all the little changes I've made. It all feels better now, though. Promise.

Edited March 2015
Here we go, boys and girls. The time for mere talk is past. It's my great pleasure to release the fully-playable Ultrarena Vertical Slice! Yaaaaaaaay!

This vertical slice is essentially a rough, self-contained deathmatch game. Enter your name and the kill ceiling, outfit your mech with the weapons you want, and try your best to hit the kill limit before anyone else. If you die, you respawn to try again. You should know the drill. There's only one mech to choose from, and only one map, but it should give you an excellent feel for how the game plays and the mechanics. The game's still prototypey, so it's still built from programmer art and standard assets, there are bugs and niggles and missing things, and it's rather light on content, but it's certainly quite playable and meaty enough for a good few minutes of stompy fun.

HOWEVER, this is still not an FPS. The trick to this game is mastering control of your mech. If you're new to mech games, or Ultrarena as a whole, I recommend you watch these tutorial videos to get an idea of the controls and the tricks available to you. Even if you've played previous builds, watch them anyway - it's mutated a lot since the last build, to the point that it feels like a completely different game.

WHAT EVEN IS THIS I WANNA LEARN I WANNA LEARN

Movement Tutorial


Weapons Tutorial


I LIKE WHAT I SEE I WANNA PLAY I WANNA PLAY

Web Build - 8MB - For browsery playings. Requires the Unity web player.

Standalone Build - 21MB ZIP - For the pilot on the go.

Please feed me back
You like what you see? TELL ME. I am dying to know what people think of the game as it is, and what suggestions they have for making it better. Based on the reaction, I'll know where to take it from here. Please giff feedback, no matter how mundane. Every tiny bit helps me to know whether I'm wasting my time here or whether I've got something worth expanding. Don't be shy!


Original Post
Herro all. I've spent the last few weeks putting together the beginnings of a single-player mech simulation arena-shooter.

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Simulation is the key word here - the idea has been to meld the detailed piloting aspects of Mechwarrior with a tournament structure a-la Unreal Tournament, resulting in short rounds of intense combat requiring smart use of your piloting skills. Since all the modern mech games out there (Mechwarrior Online, Hawken) are multiplayer. I wanted to create something I could play alone in short bursts without loads of story and elaborate content.

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This is a very early proto. Needless to say the art's all placeholder. Behold the glory of my low-poly cubescape! I've not yet implemented many weapons, or the mech selection and customization features you'd expect from this sort of game, but I have a rough playable version going with some rudimentary AI to test the feel of the controls and combat. For now, my AI is rather too good at its job.

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You can play a web-build of the prototype by clicking HERE. Controls are on the page.

You can also check out some day-by-day videos I made showcasing the game's early assembly by clicking HERE.

It's early days, but now's the time to start nitpicking. Questions are welcome, and any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
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Comments

  • I love it when you're unemployed.
  • CameraShakeFootStomps!
  • edited
    Right, update incoming. A lot of things have changed since yesterday, and may make the game a little more enjoyable. For behold... REAL TERRAIN.

    image

    You can play the new web version by clicking the link in the OP.

    Other changes include:

    LEVEL
    > Proper terrain and walls added. No more flat arena! No more falling off the world!

    UI
    > Targeting reticle changes colour when exceeding weapons firing arc and when over enemies.
    > Bouncing HUD. Because Blackships is wise in these matters.

    AI
    > Huge improvements to pathfinding to allow negotiation of terrain (more improvements pending) and better collision avoidance.
    > Enormo-massive improvements to target selection and aiming/attack logic.

    CONTROL
    > Allowed use of left Ctrl and Alt buttons for firing, for ease of web-build and laptops.

    The next immediate changes will involve the addition of new mechs and weapons, and twiddling the AI based on that, but for now, enjoy!
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  • edited
    I feel like my comments on prototypes are becoming rather predictable and one-dimensional, but still, it has to be said: Is this a game yet? In other words, have you added camera shake?

  • @raithza I think your next step should be to just provide the camera shake script with easy to call methods name appropriately:
    ShakeShitLikeCrazy();
    LameWussyShake();
    GodZillahFootStompingShakeofDoom();

    @Gazza_N I haven't played many mech games, but the dude was moving so slowly, I got bored too quickly, can you possibly choose between different mechs? maybe one that is smaller but has a bit of a spring in his step, it's the one that makes use of LameWussyShake() and is doesn't have as much power as these slower mechs that are going to cause ShakeShitLikeCrazy()
  • The web build doesn't load for me, noooooooooooooooooo
    It just stays on that screen, and if I try to do anything it crashes my entire browser.
    Booooooooooooo :(
  • edited
    You people and your bloody camera shake. Ever notice that the Vlambeer juice demo was based on a fully working core game? :P

    @Pomb: Funny you should mention that, because I'm working on integrating a smaller, faster mech right the hell now. The current default is sorta the Tank class, as it were. The idea will be to have different chassis with varying stats that you can then kit out with weapons and other goodies.

    @Tuism: Nuuuuuuu. It's working for me and apparently for others, so I can't think what the problem is. Plugin hiccups?
    Thanked by 1retroFuture
  • I want in on this shit. MECHA. I mean really. MECHA.

    Also, guess I'll try again (later when I'm home) Damnit GAH DAMN
  • I think before you put your first object in a scene you should have a camera shake script already attached to the default camera
    Thanked by 1raithza
  • Camera shake isn't a magic make-it-awesome button, folks... There is no such thing.
  • edited
    Chippit said:
    Camera shake isn't a magic make-it-awesome button, folks... There is no such thing.
    you will find much disagreement on these forums with that attitude young sir.

    ... in seriousness, it isn't really, I think we know. But it's one of those easy tricks that can add a lot to the feel of a game :p it's kinda a long running theme on MGSA... mainly owing to the FreeLives crew ;)

    although for a mecha game we can safely argue for the inclusion of camera shake :D
  • I don't want to derail the thread, just slightly state why I think camera shake is important... I feel in a mech game the sense of scale and power you wield is super important. If you don't have camera shake on footsteps the game feels like a tardy FPS. It's also critical to get the player to feel the scale of the thing by adding e.g. knee high (or smaller) trees, so that the slow movement and momentum makes sense. It also needs to feel like you are wielding far larger weapons than a person on foot can, otherwise the overheat mechanic feels like an arbitrary hindrance. This is part of the fantasy and core to the game.

    Secondly it's less than an hour's work and makes a HUGE difference in the perceived quality of the game.
  • You'll find me in full agreement with @raithza, but what Chippit and I are arguing is that this is a polish task. I dig messing around with juice effects as much as the next person (you can see I've been having fun with particles here and there ;) ), but for now my main priority is to get the game up to a decently playable state. When (not if) I do add camera shake, I want it to be decently representative of what's happening in the game - weapon impact angles, relative explosion strengths, etc. This takes a little more engineering than OMGEXPLOSIONEARTHQUAKE. :P

    Speaking of which, new web build is due this evening. Buckle your pants.
    Thanked by 1Tuism
  • Okay, apologies to @Gazza_N for keeping us off the track, but I feel like this is worth saying. My bitchy response earlier wasn't useful either, that's my fault. I get frustrated seeing and hearing this advice all over the place. Apologies for that too. Let me (try to) say this better:

    First, a disclaimer. I'm not saying camera shake and other juice isn't worthwhile. Nobody in their right mind will ever argue that. I have dedicated inordinate amounts of time to this in ALL my released projects, and even more that never were. This is what I enjoy doing more than anything else, and it's my absolute favourite part of game development. Do it, definitely.

    But, even in jest as it most often is, the trope of replying to every prototype thread with 'add camera shake' is not only not helpful, is is genuinely bad advice. At the prototype stage, you want to spend as little time as possible on anything that isn't going to tell you whether this game will be worth finishing, whether it'll be a project worth continuing with. Polish changes like almost all forms of visual feedback (not including those that are genuinely required to convey mechanical information) are literally the last thing you want to spend time on. If you're taking an hour to implement simple camera shake, first of all you're taking too long, and secondly that's an hour you didn't spend finding out if your game was any good. When people share prototypes, what they really need is solid design advice. As cool as it looks, as trendy as it is to suggest, juiciness is not game design advice. It's UI advice.

    If you're beyond that 'is this worth making' point, fine. Camera shake away. But most games that get this advice thrown at them aren't anywhere near that point. So 'juice it up' advice is genuinely harmful, not only to the developer it's aimed at, but to everyone who keeps reading it.

    Now game development is hard. It's one of the hardest things, truly. You can spend days and weeks and months and even years feeling like you're going nowhere. It's demoralising, draining, and sometimes even dreary. If these juicy changes are something that you enjoy doing, that you can reward yourself and your progress with, then yes. Definitely do that, if only to keep your head in the game. I get it. People want to be encouraging. Making stuff juicy is encouraging. But again, it's not a silver bullet. It's not going to make your game suddenly amazing if it hass problems. It's not going to fix/improve your design. And it's definitely not going to tell you if you should actually just drop this project to work on something else because, actually, this one's not gonna work out.

    Fail faster and all that.

    PS: I'm also NOT implying that everyone should just give up when stuff gets difficult either, and I'm definitely not trying to pass any of this off as golden advice (especially not at @Gazza_N, whose thread became an unwilling host to my curmudgeonliness). Just, yeah... Be reasonable with how you spend your time and stuff. Also make games.
    Thanked by 2Tuism AngryMoose
  • edited
    At this point I want to point to my very short talk I did at the last AMAZE on Mechanical Proto(type) Juice :)
    http://www.tuism.com/mechanical-proto-juice-my-amaze-2013-short-talk/

    The point of it was to talk about doing as much juice as is enough to convey the mechanics effectively and efficiently, and not do too much :)

    image

    Thanks :)
  • I'm creating a new thread for the Juice Your Prototype vs Don't Waste Time On It Topic! I will play the new version of this tonight.
  • edited
    I'm not sure if it's productive debating juice-it-first vs juice-it-appropriately vs whatever.

    Dicussing juice as a moral, and unhinged from Gazza_N's Nuclear Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena might be interesting, but it's besides the point.

    Point 1: Gazza_N called his prototype "Nuclear Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena" this implies a certain kind of prototype. I think it'd be fair to say that third person robots gliding slowly over terrain with weapons that feel impactless doesn't fit this name.

    I'm not saying that Gazza_N shouldn't start a prototype in this way, but he did label the game "Nuclear Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena" and so should expect to be compared to that label.

    This isn't then about juice, this is about setting correct expectations with the presentation of your prototypes. Starting off a mech-warrior game with slow moving robots gliding around each other is a perfectly sensible way to begin a mech-warrior game, but expect to have your juice criticized if you use the words "Red-Hot" or "Ultrarena".

    Point 2: Juice isn't about Juice.

    Juice is about feedback, and feedback is what conveys to us the experience. It is alright in a prototype like 2048 (a tile pushing puzzle game) to not add much juice until the end, the enjoyment of solving tile-pushing problems has very little to do with the juice...

    But in a game about being a hulking robot the experience of being a hulking robot has everything to do with the feedback the player receives when he/she interacts with the world.

    If @Raithza is saying "It's also critical to get the player to feel the scale of the thing" he's not saying "I think this prototype doesn't have enough polish", he's saying the game is producing a feeling of dissonance for him and that it doesn't behave in the way that the content of the game seems to indicate it should.

    Again, I don't think it's wrong to start a mech-warrior game with the rules of combat (as Gazza_N has), but when a player says something to the effect of "This game produces a feeling of dissonance when I play it" it's not really a question of "When should I start polishing", but rather a question of "When do I start trying to produce the core experience".

    I think it's easy to confuse player feedback with polish. And I think terms like "Juice" just confuse the debate further, because juice is seen as inherently optional.

    Point 3: If someone is complaining about the juice, chances are the rules of the game aren't compelling enough (yet) to allow the player to overlook the juice.

    This sounds harsh, but this is basically true of mech-warrior games even in their finished states. They are slow for third person shooters, with a lot of enforced waiting time between decisions, but they make up for that with compelling fantasies. Right now this is a game about being a robot and walking around and trying to do more damage to your opponents than they do to you, so it is tricky to comment on much else besides the feedback.

    I think it's totally possible to design rules for a mech game that are so compelling that the game can stand on it's own with the barest bones of feedback, and maybe Ultrarena is heading in that direction. Though I'd guess that Gazza_N appears to be going for a slow hulking mech-warrior game, which is always going to require a certain amount of patience.

    Maybe I'm guessing incorrectly. But Gazza_N doesn't appear to be making Hawken or Waiting for Horus, or even Armoured Core. "Nuclear Red-Hot Robot Ultrarena" does appear to be making a Mech Warrior styled game which is much slower paced and much more demanding of immersing the player in the fantasy. Gazza_N even uses the word "simulator".

    To be clear, I think it's a totally sensible path for Gazza_N to continue working on the rules and the strategy of Ultrarena. I think with more strategic juggling (like the various heating and energy systems in Mech Warrior or other resources) the lack of hulking-robot-feedback would be less of an issue.

    So I'm not saying that the feedback can't be added later in the prototype's development. But rather to treat feedback as polish is misguided in this scenario. What is true of a retro platformer by Vlambeer is not necessarily true of a giant robot simulator (as Gazza_N claimed of feedback).

    As an afterthought, I'd expect that the feedback in question is the greatest challenge facing this game concept. I think the combat systems will be comparatively easy.


    Thanked by 2raxter tbulford
  • edited
    I should point out that I'm not dismissing any of the feedback I'm seeing. There's no point in posting on the frumz otherwise. The debate above is fantastic stuff - it's extremely relevant to the game.

    The fact is, however, that the game is only a few part-time weeks into development, and I need to keep a clear list of implementation priorities to get the most core functionality out of my dev time. Camera wibbles < Implementing groundwork for mech customization. FOR THE MOMENT. Making the combat and mechs feel meaty and satisfying is definitely something I want to do, because I want the game to be fun. Also, that name wasn't chosen lightly. ;)

    And with that said...

    NEW RELEASE! HOLY CRAP!

    HOLY CRAP! RELEASE NOTES!

    28/03/2012

    GAMEPLAY
    > Added Dervish mech
    > Added Coilgun weapon
    > Added explosion/splash damage objects
    > Tweaks to laser weaponry
    > Tweaks to weapon rotation arc definitions.

    UI
    > HUD bounce future-systems recombobulated.
    > HUD element rotation error fixed.
    > Mouse cursor hide. At last.
    > Eliminated right-click context menu in web build.
    > Added option to restart on death.

    AI
    > Refinements to targeting logic and aiming methods.
    > Introduction of accuracy flubs. No more perfect marksmechship.

    BACKEND
    > Made mech instantiation and loadout fully data-driven to lay groundwork for customization and campaign persistence/saves.
    > Cleaned up controller hierarchies.

    GRAPHICS
    > Distance fog added.
    > Added explosion effects. :3

    It's playable at the link above, as always.
  • I just gave this a play. Here are some of my thoughts...hopefully they are helpful in some way. :) (Disclaimer...I didn't really read any of the other feedback so sorry if there are repeats.)

    The first thing I noticed was that there were too many buttons. I couldn't quite keep track of when I wanted to rotate and when I wanted to turn. I would love it if the "turret" part of my mech would just rotate with the mouse. It would make a lot more sense to me to play like that(I think). On top of that there were 2 extra buttons to cycle through 3 combinations each...too many infos :P (but this might just be me).

    I felt that the slow movement when I overheated was too much of a punishment. It took away my ability to use evasive skills to rectify my mistake of overheating. Overheating feels more like a death sentence than a mistake, if that is what it should feel like, then just have it do that. You could maybe fire for one or two more seconds and then MASSIVE EXPLOSION. It can be sort of a suicide attempt at taking your enemy down when you know you are going to lose. If however that is not what you want, I would suggest keeping the movement the same speed, but letting them take increased damage when they are overheated. It can be themed something like a shield that can't operate at those temperatures.

    I'm not a massive fan of the "auto running". I want the mech to gradually slow down if I let go of my forward throttle...and slow down even faster when I'm pressing back throttle.

    I really like the targeting thing. Especially since it shows you health. Give's you a cool dynamic where I don't want to engage someone with lots of health.

    Lastly...I wanted to jump so freaking bad! I'm not sure how well this would fit in the game, but with such a massive open landscape(especially open roof) I really wanted to use the 3rd axis...espcially since I could easily aim there...but never found targets :P

    Keep it up! :)
  • OK finally it worked for me :D Hope my feedback will be useful, cos I have some really personal preferences when it comes to mecha :P

    1. The rotation makes sense to me, though I noticed that the accuracy of your weapons were affected big time when the enemy wasn't dead ahead on the monitor - is that intentional? If so, why bother with being able to shoot "off centre" at all? The suggestion of the turret turning with the mouse is a good one - it's the same as Reign: Steel Echoes.

    2. I feel the movement options are too limited and linear... It basically felt like combat degenerates to "circle each other like sharks and stare each other to death". Even with the heat management and things it boiled down to how many more shots you were able to keep the other guy centred on your screen for. Combat games like this I feel needs a bit of "predictable dynamism" to the movement, so that there's a risk/reward in trying to dodge incoming attacks in a meaningful way, and for the aggressor to predict the enemy movement in a meaningful way (not too easy cos they can only go straight ahead). Like jumpjets or sideways dodges. I know that's what I'd have if I ever made my mech game. Damn I want to make my mech game.

    3. I think the juice is enough to convey the mechanics so far. Some sound effects would help with knowing when you're nearing overheat, or getting hit, or whatever, but overall I feel the mechanical juice is fair enough :)

    4. The weapon varieties are... varied. Though very expected. Something I really enjoyed in games gone by are weapons with personality. Half-Life's guided rockets. Unreal's Flak Cannon. Even the BFG. Flare gun in Blood. I think we were talking about this just the other day. It's a shame that we have such vanilla weapons these days.

    That's all :) Good luck with it! :D
  • edited
    Thanks for playing guys!

    @Rigormortis: Stop apologising and lay the smack down on me, man! :P

    1. I'm not happy with the weapons selection either. It's too clunky. I need to rethink it.
    2. Graaaah. Your comments regarding throttle and turret controls are exactly what I didn't want to hear. :P I have an idea to remedy this using the mouse without going for the FPS insta-turret though. I'll try it out for the next update.
    3. Originally the overheat just killed your weapons and modules, but I felt like a sadist and killed the engines too. Having become frustrated with it myself as I played, I agree with you that it's too harsh. I'll revert it. :)
    4. More mobility seems to be a big factor in the feedback I'm getting. I'll need to nut this out.

    @Tuism: All feedback is useful, Mr. Tu, especially from mech fans. :)

    1. Mechs have limited firing arcs as a stat (based on how far their "arms" can rotate), but I understand why this can feel weird. It's something I'll have to address when I look at the torso thing.
    2. Mobility again. This is something I urgently need to look at. :\
    3. Yay! Sound! I should splack in a couple of placeholder sounds.
    4. Early boring prototype weapons, sir. I'll be mixing it up as much as I can as dev goes on. Shotgun lasers. MIRV Mortars. Arc cannons. Drunk missiles. These are all things. :)

    Thanks again, guys. This is great stuff. :D
  • some things I've picked up:

    Unfortunately I agree with the throttle thing. I prefer the idea of the auto-run throttle as it give you slightly less control and makes it feel like you are in control of a giant mech of which you only have a slow interface to. But currently it's not quite getting that feel. My only idea to keep the throttle but make your W/S controls move a slider up and down the throttle bar and the actual throttle then slowly lerps to that (not too slowly though, also maybe make slowing down faster than speeding up). This make it in your control but you have a slight delay from decision to action, making it feel like you are in control of a huge machine (I think anyway, I have no idea for sure)

    Jumping might not make sense but why not a short jetpack burst? I really really wanted to jet off the mountain towards an enemy, even if you don't go up very much it could be an alternative movement method, especially if you have height advantage.

    Targeting an enemy with R is super old school and I love it, but I think it's too old school. Didn't know to press R to target until my second playthrough. I can't think of an idea but maybe there is a more modern way of doing it (maybe there isn't, maybe I need to play it more, but that was a first impression)

    Weapon selection is tricky, I remember an old mech game I played you could organise weapons into group 1 2 or 3. I'm going to suggest this but I'm not entirely sure it'll work, but I"m in a rush and typeing faster than I'm thinking:

    1,2,3 select weapon group (this does assume that the player can somehow set up weapon groups beforehand)
    left click - fire
    ctrl - alt fire
    right click - context (target select)

    on reflection this is a terrible idea but I've got to run, something to think about anyway :p
  • edited
    Hokay. Some fundamental changes in the game's controls for today's update. I've taken into account the torso twist comments and implemented a mouse-driven torso rotation system that allows free aim while not sacrificing the limited rate of twist. I've also allowed two options for throttle: FPS-style absolute throttle controls, and the old-style adjustable method. I've also tweaked weapon selection - you now tap the respective buttons to toggle between individual weapons, and hold to enable group fire.

    Also new is a rubbish intro menu that allows you to select which mech you want to pilot, and which throttle style you want to try.
    Let me know how the new control systems stack up to the old method.

    Complete release notes:

    GAMEPLAY

    > Tweaked mech speed settings.
    > Minor changes to weapon properties.
    > Overheating no longer halves maximum mech speed, and now increases cooldown rate the way it should have. <_<
    > Implemented turn rate dampening based on momentum. No more slippy-sliding in the Dervish.

    UI

    > Added speed readout to HUD.
    > Added optional "absolute" throttle method for more FPS-like play.
    > Increased rate of change for adjustable throttle.
    > Changed weapon switching method. Tap switching keys to switch between weapons, hold to set group fire for that arm.
    > Rejiggered torso rotation to be mouse-driven instead of keyboard-driven.
    > Added rubbish intro menu to select mech type and throttle method.

    Web build is updated, but standalone is not.
  • Using the mouse to twist the torso is a lot better!

    As a suggestion for movement what about increments? E.g. If I hit "W" it goes to 1/5 speed and if I hit it again 2/5 speed and so on. "S" would reduce 1/5 speed or, if 0/5, reverse.

    Another idea is to either slow down the rate of speed increase on the FPS-style movement or increase the rate of speed increase on the old model. (I hope I made sense there)

  • edited
    Eeeexcellent. I'm much happier with the mouse rotation too, although I need to look at a good way to communicate the extent of the twist. I tend to lose track in heated combat. :P

    I can give the incremental adjustment a try. It'd still allow fine adjustment of speed while providing quicker and more precise response to input.

    Could you elaborate on the throttle rate suggestion? From a physics perspective the throttle's just a selector for your desired speed - the mech's acceleration/deceleration is quite independent, and occurs at the same rate regardless of whether you floor it (FPS method), or adjust it gradually.
  • Ultrarena isn't dead! An update video showcasing a couple of the new systems is in the first post. Playable sooooooooon, etc.
  • New video and new playable web build up in the first post! Many many many many changes and additions since the last build.

    Thanks to everyone who's given feedback so far, here and on the GTalks. Game's coming along nicely thanks to your comments. :3
  • +1 for Jump Jets. Also really liked the way the mechs go super nova when they die. Went in for a closer look once...bad idea. Wanted the lock to be "E" instead of "R" for some reason. What does "Q" do. Got a blue lock-on reticle but not sure how it works? Sun gets in your eyes, which is cool but also kinda annoying because the turn speed is so slow. The minimap can also be a smidge bigger. All of these things are just nit-picking really as I really enjoyed playing this.
  • edited
    @FanieG: Thanks for giving it a play! Glad you liked the jets and the sparkly mechsplosions. :D

    The sun's only in your eyes because that was an included Unity skybox wot I liked, and I ran with it. Not having a Real Artist™ means sacrifices must be made. :P

    True that the turn speed is low, but bear in mind that if you slow down, you'll turn faster because of momentum, etc. Jump jets also let you turn pretty quickly. It's a valid point, though, and you're not the first to make it. I'll find a sweet spot for the turn rate eventually.

    Q is the heavy weapons button. Reason you got the useless blue reticle was because you had homing missiles equipped as a HW, and you need to hold Q while keeping your reticle positioned over the target to get a lock. It's not a very good or intuitive system - I hardly ever use homing missiles myself when testing, and that's a good indicator that they suck epically. :P I'm looking at changing it so that it just locks onto whatever you've R-targeted without any other shenanigans.

    E isn't used for targeting because it's going to be used for mechs with a second heavy weapon slot, and I wanted to keep it as a "shoulder button" layout. We'll see how it works out though - I'm still fiddling with the controls. I don't want people fighting the control scheme, but I also want people to have intuitive, quick one-button access to mech abilities. Feedback like yours helps loads in that regard. :)

    Your minimap size comment is noted. It's more visible when fullscreened, but I'll deffo look at that since it needs a little more functionality too.

    Thanks again for taking the time to play and backfeed. :D
  • A little bit of sound adds layers of joy.


    In other news, I've also completed the customization screen. At long last.
    image

    I look forward to showing the game off live on Tuesday ! :D
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  • Thanks for all the comments, kind words and suggestions regarding the game last night, meetup peoples! I've updated the web build link in the top post with last night's build (including asplosions!) so anyone who's keen can give it a go themselves. :D
    Thanked by 1Bensonance
  • Thoughts I had:

    1. The regular storyline type thing probably wouldn't work very well, in addition to being cliched.

    2. Something like Papers please - event based narrative. So like in the middle of a fight a capsule crashes down, you can either try to save the guy from being fried or take him out yourself. Or something. Then if you don't make enough money something happens (like hunger games vibe or like papers please family starving vibe) (or not, not so much like that)

    3. I think there's something really cool in collecting bits - so maybe you buy or salvage mechs throughout the game to grow your options - some mechs are better suited to some conditions/enemies/levels/whatever so it's not just a case of "better better better". You might go back to some older models in some levels because it works better. Same applies for weapons and modules.

    4. Battledrome - it was purely a battle arena game, you got better mechs, weapons, etc as you earned money. I LOVED IT back in the day :) Now it's a 2MB abandonware :D (http://www.myabandonware.com/game/metaltech-battledrome-2wd)

    5. OMF2097 - it's fundamentally a fighting game but the mechanic of buying parts and chassis is greatly implemented in this one:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Must_Fall:_2097
    Thanked by 2Gazza_N Bensonance
  • What about a Windows build for those of us without internet at home?
  • edited
    Just for you, @Fengol - the standalone build link's been updated.

    @Tuism: Yeah, this game doesn't lend itself to any sort of epic narrative, and I'm not trying to make any grand philosophical gestures here. A basic setting is good enough.

    As for your other points, I like them. I'm convinced now that the tournament structure is the way to go, and the accumulation of money/components is a great way to fuel a sense of progression, as well as upping the challenge as your opponents upgrade too.

    Also, you win six thousand internets for mentioning OMF. ^_^
    Thanked by 1Fengol
  • Alrighty, posting time!

    Stompy mech games are cool - we love giant robots! The game(s) I played way-back-when in this genre seem to have been MechWarrior games (1 and 2 mostly from screenshots and videos) but looking at how the games played I really don't remember very well what they were like.

    However, the game in general seems to lead me to the following conclusions (some you have explicitely said, and others you might have and I didn't see):
    - The stompy mech thing is key
    - This is aimed at being "realistic" in a sense that there isn't going to be alien technology or magickz
    - The "general consensus" is that this genre doesn't seem to lend itself to epic narrative (I disagree! Hurr durr!)

    Ok, so let me tackle the game as it is first.

    I felt when watching you play and trying it myself that the plan to have varying terrains is important, I am hesitant to suggest this, but have you considered going for a toon-shaded look? The reason I am thinking this is I feel it could lend itself to the existing look and feel you have going, and it will translate well to various environments. You mentioned space, but I thought epic forests next to abandoned cities - sort of like humanity's last stand vibe. I mocked up some better examples of what I am thinking and made a picture (sources below, for illustration purposes only):

    image
    Sauces:
    I am happy with the speed of the game and the lack of melee functionality (machines just don't do speed with legs well, and similarly they are too clumsy in my opinion to do melee fighting - also, if you can carry a gun, why take a knife) - and this to me lends itself to some interesting ideas for mechs and modules.

    Imagine if this was a squad based shooter, where your single player missions are based on objectives on your custom made world (a glorified map with stars the player can click on to play missions). When you drop into a mission the overwatching commanders dropped in specific units to fulfil specific roles (a sniper [this game needs some form of ultra-long-range :3 ], a scout, a defender, a heavy weaponry mech) - you can play each role on the team as a player. The commanders send you co-ordinates to set up at, which targets to shoot at, etc - all for reconquering the area. Perhaps a specific government took over the and enslaved the whole world and you are the resistance?

    The reason I mention roles above as each mech could be considered to fulfil a very specific purpose - a smaller mech might be slightly faster, that could be a scout, the Deathbringer could be the heavy weaponry mech, a mech that carries a single weapon (a long range rifle) that has to set up and be stationary to fire but can fire across the battlefield, through some walls - etc could be a sniper, and so on.

    This leads to augments that could add depth and interesting twists to game play:
    - infrared cameras for your mech [pick up heat signatures, high power expenditure]
    - cooling plates [harder to see in infrared but slower speed, cools weapons slightly faster too]
    - missile targeting systems [as in a way to lock missiles onto a heat signature]
    - missile avoidance systems [those thingies choppers can shoot out? cant remember the name]

    These ideas aren't really new, and you said you have many ideas, so some (if not all) of what I have said could potentially be in the books.

    My point being that despite not being obvious there is a lot of potential for a huge overarching story of epic proportions - and it won't even need a lot of writing. You could roll some dice to determine what a specific location contains: Oil, a factory, a critical transport route of the enemy. You then roll yourself some dice to work out if it is a normal city, and ruined city, a forest, etc and you build yourself a map that follows those reasons, and when you pop in enemies and mechs for players you decide if you need long range or not, whether you need a defensive mech, etc. the player then rofl-stomps through an area doing stompy-mech-stuff going further in this great story of war and fighting off the epic-evil enemies. Short play time can be kept, you can have a great progression through a story that tells itself.

    That being said, I could just be saying tons of dumb stuff - as the game is fleshed out we can see what works and what doesn't, and eventually we can sit and consider specifics like which mechs feel useless, which feel too strong, etc. I like the game, I know with your mech-savvy-ness you are going to do a lot of cool stuff, I can't wait to see where you take this.

    Lastly, I tried and can't quite draw it, but the defensive mech I mentioned would be something like a moveable riot-shield in stompy mech form. Think a fairly sizeable mech that carries a huge metal barrier, it can set up and brace itself to fend of heavy fire while something behind it can take shots. It can have some form of light weaponry for while moving around, but have its strength come from how defensive it it.

    There is likely more I can rant about, and more ideas I can spew (whether wanted or not) - so will post again eventually. I hope at least something was useful from this.
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  • Holy wall of text! Thanks for that, @edg3!

    I'll be blunt - I've barely considered the game's visuals yet. As I mentioned last night, I'm not an artist, so putting together a coherent aesthetic isn't my thing. I *do* like the idea of toon/cel shading because it would be visually distinctive, and probably allow for a more vibrant appearance than your standard "real-is-a-billion-shades-of-brown". Could probably get away with less detailed textures too!

    Not sure if a lost-earth look would be good for the tournament structure theme, though. I was thinking of something like F1 in Monaco, where they cordon off areas of cities or wilderness with forcefields and let the mechs run riot. No reason why *one* of those environments couldn't be an overgrown cityscape, but I don't know if it could carry the game. I'll leave that to any potential future project artists to figure out. :P

    I'll need to consider the squad idea carefully. For one, MWO and Hawken are squad-based, and for two, AI. That said, I'm still unpacking all the suggestions I got last night as regards to game modes. Could be that as the game develops a team-botmatch (cwotididthar?) thing becomes viable. I still need to feel it out and see what the game mutates into as I go.

    That said, I like to think that the customisation mechanic already allows for specialised builds that the player can try out in solo combat. A long-range build with missiles and coilguns to try to take enemies out from afar, or a fast maneuvrable brawler with energy shields, jump jets and shotguns/autocannons for close-range domination are already possible in this version of the game.

    The randomised environments idea: love it. Luff. Eet. I like the idea that during a campaign you'll not necessarily hit every environment, and have to think on your feet as you progress. Whether I'd generate the maps procedurally or pull a Nu-XCOM and just have a bunch of themed static maps tiered by difficulty remains to be seen, but I like this. A lot.

    I appreciate your detailed feedback and suggestions, sir! It's given me a fair bit to think over as I plot my next steps. :)
  • Just a quick comment. Looking at the inputs in the game console I see there are duplicate function bound to the same keys

    Torso Twist Left = q
    Torso Twist Right = e
    Fire heavy weapon 1 = q
    Fire heavy weapon 1 = e

    I also have:
    Fire 3 = left cmd

    What's left cmd?
  • @Fengol: Torso twist? Um... yeah... looks like I forgot to remove some deprecated bindings from the input list. <_<

    As for Fire 3, I have no idea how that sneaked in there, let alone using a mac binding. Not used. Ignore.

    I'll clean up the input list ASAP and repost. Thanks for the heads-up. :)

  • edited
    Because it was quick to implement and much-requested, behold! Cockpit views!
    image
    image
    (I especially enjoy the Dervish cockpit view, because you really get a sense that she's sprinting along at 90km/h. :P)

    You can also look up and down now, to a degree, which feels far more natural and makes me wonder why I didn't do it in the first place. -_-

    I've also turned to my next major challenge, before I start prototyping a metagame, and that's making the AI a bit smarter. Fact is that until enemy mechs are more fun and fair to fight, it doesn't matter how many exciting metagame funtimes there are. Currently I've managed to make it a bit smarter about how it uses its equipped weapons, killed the bug where it keeps attacking an enemy undergoing meltdown (or decreased its Artificial Douchebaggery, if you want to look at it that way), and tried to make it a bit smarter regarding its positioning in combat. The larger idea is to introduce a set of stats that dictate a given AI's aggression, evasion, etc, and "teach" it how to use modules and heavy weapons properly.

    The idea is ultimately to have a persistent roster of enemy AI pilots, generated at the beginning of the campaign, that you face off against throughout the tournament, while learning their habits and "play style". We'll see how that works.

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  • edited
    Right. The web build's been updated with the following:

    > Slightly less moronic AI. The Undumbening continues, however. Expect them to still do stupid and hilarious things occasionally.
    > No more hold-reticle-over-mech-to-lock idiocy for Homing Missiles. They'll now lock on to whatever mech you've currently targeted via the R key. For now, you can also lock on when the mech isn't in your field of view! Surprise salvo for targeted pursuers! Whooo! :D
    > You can now toggle between cockpit and external cameras with the C key.
    > The camera now has a slight amount of vertical movement. I think it feels much better. Let me know.
    > Running through the awful-looking makeshift lake will now slow you down, as you'd expect when trudging through a body of water-analogue.
  • Squeeeee!!! Going to play a little bit later today! That cockpit view looks amazing! :D
  • @Gazza_N If you need any help with Modeling & Texturing stuff let me know :)
    Thanked by 2retroFuture Gazza_N
  • edited
    @Powercat: Could you DM me your details? I have someone doing some placeholder texturing at the moment, but I'd be very happy to see what you have in mind. I can chuck my current model files your way as reference. :)
  • This is starting to take shape nicely... I was a huge mech warrior fan too.

    For those with grey silver beards you might still remember this?

    Terra Nova by Looking Glass
  • edited
    Whooooo! Terra Nova! I never played it, but I remember reading about it around '95 or so. :3

    In other news... PATHFINDING.
    image

    I'm using the free A* Pathfinding Project plugin for Unity, which is blowing my mind. Free (with an advanced paid version available), and with full support for grid, navmesh and navpoint pathfinding right out the box, it's well worth a look. My mechs are now at least 20% smarter, since they aren't ramming into things randomly anymore.
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  • I know I've said I'd make art for you before, and then just plain forgotten or gotten swamped. I'm just an idiot and have too much on my plate. But as long as you don't mind it coming at you veeeeery sloooooowly, and you don't mind poking me about it regularly, I'm pretty keen to make art too.
  • Pathfinding grid graphs are not all that great for large maps, Better to use a navmesh for a large map.
  • edited
    @Pixel_Reaper: Valid point. It's a good thing my maps aren't large, then. ;) What you see up there is a 200 x 200 grid - pretty much on par with any RTS or MOBA you care to mention. It also helps that A*PFP is very well optimised. I've had no performance knocks at all.

    Besides, for this implementation grids are fast, accurate, have amazing support for Unity terrain, and allow me to change things on the fly at runtime or otherwise. Since I'm still playing with the idea of randomising my maps, a suitably flexible pathfinding system is called for. A navmesh is static, needs to be created manually for A*PFP, and can't be easily updated at runtime. If at any point I start getting performance hits, though, a navmesh will be my next port of call. :)

    @Elyaradine: @Powercat is working on some models for me at the moment. He's from an SFX background, so he wants to do this as an exercise to apply his skills to game modelling/anim. I think both he and the project would benefit from your input. Perhaps you two should talk. :)
  • I'm just saying ;) the A* project has some functionality that you can use (slightly modify) to generate a navmesh at runtime. I did that for the last competition we had since I procedurally generated my mazes.
  • @Pixel_Reaper: Yeah, it's a valid comment. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

    Any online resources handy for the runtime navmesh tweaks you used? I want to check it out, see what other tools I have available.
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